Articles Posted in U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals

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Plaintiff filed a putative class action against M&T Bank, alleging that it improperly charged its checking account customers overdraft fees. The district court denied M&T Bank's renewed motion to compel arbitration, finding that plaintiff's claims were not within the scope of the parties' arbitration agreement. The court held that, under the delegation provision, the decision of whether plaintiff's claims were within the scope of the arbitration agreement was a decision for an arbitrator, and the district court erred in making the decision itself. Further, the court believed that it was prudent for the district court to reconsider its unconscionability determination in light of AT&T Mobility LLC v. Conception, so the court did not reach whether the arbitration agreement was unconscionable. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded. View "Given v. M&T Bank Corp, et al." on Justia Law

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Regions appealed the denial of their renewed motion to compel plaintiffs to arbitrate their complaint against Regions. Plaintiffs sued regions for allegedly violating federal and state law by collecting overdraft charges under its deposit agreement, and Regions moved to compel arbitration based on an arbitration clause in that agreement. The district court denied the motion to compel on the ground that the arbitration clause was substantively unconscionable because it contained a class action waiver, but the court vacated that ruling and remanded for further consideration in light of AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion. On remand, Regions renewed its motion to compel, which the district court denied on the ground that the arbitration clause was substantively unconscionable under Georgia law because a provision granting Regions the unilateral right to recover its expenses for arbitration allocated disproportionately to plaintiffs the risks of error and loss inherent in dispute resolution. Because the reimbursement provision was neither procedurally nor substantively unconscionable under Georgia law, the court reversed the order denying the renewed motion to compel Regions and remanded with instructions to compel arbitration. View "Hough, et al. v. Regions Financial Corp., et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs are personal investment holding corporations owned by two related Panamanian shareholders. Defendants, of who there are two distinct groups, are (1) a related group of banking corporations operating under the umbrella of Banco Santander, which provide banking, investment, and other financial management services; and (2) certain individual officers/employees of Santander. This dispute arose from plaintiff's investment of an undisclosed sum of money with defendants. At issue was whether a district court, having found a valid contract containing an arbitration clause existed, was also required to consider a further challenge to that contract's place within a broader, unexecuted agreement. Having considered those circumstances in light of Granite Rock Co. v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters and other relevant precedent, the court found that the district court properly construed the law regarding arbitrability in dismissing plaintiff's suit. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Solymar Investments, Ltd., et al. v. Banco Santander S.A., et al." on Justia Law

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This case arose when plaintiffs and defendants entered into an agreement to co-underwrite a municipal bond offering that was to be issued by Dade County, FL. The dispute underlying the case arose when a third party involved in that bond offering failed to pay plaintiffs and plaintiffs in turn failed to pay defendants. At issue was whether the district court should have permitted the dispute to be arbitrated. Plaintiffs argued that the district court should have enjoined the arbitration proceedings, in part because plaintiffs waived the right to arbitrate by engaging in litigation conduct inconsistent of that right. Plaintiffs also argued that, even if arbitration was permissible, the district court should have vacated the award the arbitration panel entered in defendants' favor. Because the court concluded that the district court abused its discretion by failing to decide itself whether defendants had waived the right to arbitration, the court vacated the district court's order and remanded for that court to decide the waiver issue. View "Grigsby & Assoc. v. M Securities Investment, et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff sued the Union for damages caused by a work stoppage conducted by the Union in alleged violation of the collective bargaining agreement. The district court entered summary judgment without reaching the merits holding that the dispute was subject to arbitration under the contract. Plaintiff appealed. The court held that, in this case, the employee oriented grievance machinery in the parties' contract qualified and limited the universe of claims and grievances subject to arbitration, and the language negated the intention that the employer's claim for damages must be submitted to arbitration. Accordingly, the district court's grant of summary judgment was reversed and the case remanded for further proceedings. View "Jim Walter Resources, Inc. v. United Mine Workers of America, et al." on Justia Law

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IPS appealed the district court's denial of its motion to compel arbitration and stay plaintiffs' claims against it. Plaintiffs cross-appeal, disputing the preemption of their claims under the Employment Income Security Act (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. 1001 et seq., and alleging a lack of federal jurisdiction. The court found that jurisdiction was proper and affirmed the district court's denial of IPS's motion to compel arbitration. View "Ehlen Floor Covering, Inc., et al. v. Innovative Pension Strategies, Inc." on Justia Law

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This case stemmed from a property dispute between the parties. White Springs appealed the district court's confirmation of an arbitration award in favor of Glawson, challenging the grant of attorneys' fees, expert fees, and prejudgment interest and sought to vacate or modify the arbitration award under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), 9 U.S.C. 10, 11. The court held that the arbitration panel had the power to decide Glawson's claims for attorneys' fees and that Glawson properly submitted the issue to the panel. The court was unable to grant White Springs' request that the court review the legality of the award of expert fees and prejudgment interest on the ad valorem taxes, as the FAA did not permit it to do so. Therefore, the court found no basis to overturn any portion of the panel's final arbitration award. View "White Springs Agricultural v. Glawson Investments Corp." on Justia Law

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This case stemmed from plaintiff's allegations that, while she was employed with defendant on one of its cruise ships, she was drugged by other employees, raped, and physically injured while she was unconscious, and when she reported to officials of the cruise line what had happened to her, they treated her with indifference and even hostility, failed to provide her with proper medical treatment on board, and interfered with her attempts to obtain medical treatment and counseling ashore. Plaintiff subsequently asserted five claims against defendant involving violations of the Jones Act, 46 U.S.C. 30104, or the general maritime law applicable to the Seaman's Wage Act, 46 U.S.C. 10313. Plaintiff's remaining five claims involved common law tort claims. At issue was whether plaintiff's claims fell within the scope of the arbitration clause in the crew agreement. The court held that the district court did not err in holding that Counts VI, VII, VIII, IX, and X of plaintiff's complaint did not fall within the scope of the arbitration provision where all five of these claims involved factual allegations about how the cruise line and its officials treated plaintiff after learning that she had been raped, including allegations that she was kept on the ship against her will, that she was prevented from getting medical attention off the ship, that her rape kit was destroyed in the incinerator, and that her confidentiality as a rape victim was intentionally violated. The court held, however, that the remaining five counts arose directly from her undisputed status as a "seaman" employed by defendant and fell within the scope of the arbitration provision. Therefore, the district court erred in denying defendant's motion to compel arbitration for Counts I, II, III, IV, and V. View "Doe v. Princess Cruise Lines, Ltd." on Justia Law

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Defendant appealed the district court's order denying its motion to compel plaintiff to submit her claims to arbitration pursuant to an arbitration agreement governed by the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), 9 U.S.C. 1 et seq. The district court held that defendant had, by participating in the litigation for nine months prior to requesting that the case be submitted to arbitration, waived its contractual right to compel arbitration. The court found that defendant's right to compel arbitration, even if waived with respect to the claims in the Original Complaint, was revived by plaintiff's filing of the Amended Complaint. Therefore, the court vacated the district court's order denying defendant's motion to compel arbitration and stay the proceedings, remanding for further proceedings. View "Krinsk v. Suntrust Bank, Inc. et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff appealed the district court's enforcement of the arbitration agreement in his employment contract with defendant. Plaintiff sued defendant on a single count of Jones Act negligence, pursuant to 46 U.S.C. 30104, claiming that defendant breached its duty to supply him with a safe place to work. The court held that, given the United Nations Convention on Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (New York Convention) and governing Supreme Court and Circuit Court precedent, the court must enforce the arbitration clause in plaintiff's employment contract, at least at this initial arbitration-enforcement stage. Therefore, after review and oral argument, the court affirmed the district court's order compelling arbitration of plaintiff's Jones Act negligence claim. View "Lindo v. NCL (Bahamas), LTD" on Justia Law